Camp Is for the Camper (Third Edition)

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Connie Coutellier
Healthy Learning
72 pages
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Today, more than ever, day camps, resident camps, and other outdoor education and experiential activities have the potential to be a partner with parents in the growth and development of children. COVID-19—without question—robbed children of the complexity of life that is an essential and healthy part of development. While parents are looking for opportunities for fun and safe experiences for their children, they are looking for more than that. Children also need an emotionally safe environment, where they can have “real-life” experiences, based on a knowledge of positive youth development. To realize this potential, staff working with youth must become more aware of the social and emotional needs of both children and their parents. Children are engaged in the undertaking of growing up. They are developing competencies, trying on new roles, learning social skills, and trying to control their feelings and impulses.

Camp Is for the Camper is designed as a resource for the counselor or program staff to work more effectively with their campers. In that regard, among the topics addressed are the following:

  • Their responsibilities as a role model

  • Tips to survive the stress of what may be their first experience supervising a group of school-age youth

  • An awareness of current social trends and data from the pandemic that suggest many children are experiencing an increase in anxiety and a lack of social skills, as well as often have mental health concerns

  • The age characteristics and program considerations for a specific age group

  • Suggestions for reinforcing positive behaviors and for dealing with inappropriate behaviors of individual campers and of positive group behavior

Counselors and youth workers play a critical role in every stage of group development. This one-of-a-kind book also focuses on strategies for dealing with different types of group behaviors. The uniqueness of the camp experience is more than a series of activities to engage children; it is a group-living experience. Individuals are not only brought together to share common experiences in an outdoor setting, they are also encouraged to develop a cohesive group, with positive interpersonal relationships and social skills. They must develop mutual respect and trust that is greater than roles based upon an individual’s gender, race, economic situation, or physical condition.

The author has gathered information through discussions with camp directors, workshops, and years of her own practical experience as a camp professional. This book can serve as a discussion starter in staff training. The camp or youth program directors will need to identify specific policies and procedures, as well as the appropriate and inappropriate behaviors pertaining to their program and clientele.